Consecrated life today: Walking together being a light for others

Maria José Tuñón, director of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life reflects on this XXVI Day of Consecrated Life, which the Church is living immersed in the synod process.

Mª José Tuñón, ICA-February 2, 2022-Reading time: 5 minutes
consecrated life light

Photo: Rafael Pires / Pexels

Last Sunday of the Word, Pope Francis invited all Christians to celebrate and share around the Word of God, which is always light for our steps, as the psalmist says.

How good it is that we too, consecrated life, in celebrating the 26th Day of Consecrated Life, have this conviction! So that, impelled by the Spirit and guided by his Word, we may continue to "walk together", as our motto says in this ecclesial moment, so important and at the same time challenging.

To walk together, impelled by his Word, always challenges us to more: to more commitment, more humble prophecy in the midst of the world, more dialogue without prejudice. To be more salt and light, so that the world may taste the tenderness and mercy revealed to us in Jesus Christ. The Son of God incarnate, made one of many, whom we consecrated men and women seek in our daily lives, from the different charisms, so that ultimately others may have life!

He himself has called and summoned us consecrated men and women, as his disciples, to communion, to listening, to proclaim that "today ... is the year of grace" (Lk. 4:14-21). In this way, trusting in his Spirit and in his Word revealed from of old, let us continue to proclaim that "today" the promises of covenant and salvation for the life of the world are fulfilled in him, a journey of gratuitous service, which is made by walking, generating processes, as a beloved and beloved people! This is synodality! A fundamental theme in this kairos to which Pope Francis has invited the entire Church.

We are therefore invited to look at Him, "all in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on Him", to transform our gaze and take charge to walk and dream together a new fraternity. To gestate a new world: "We have already had a long time of moral degradation, mocking ethics, goodness, faith, honesty, and the time has come to realize that this cheerful superficiality has served us of little use" (Cf, FT.ch.III).

Pope Francis will also say, especially to the consecrated: "The Lord does not call us to be soloists, no, he does not call us to be soloists, but to be part of a choir, which at times is out of tune... we need courageous patience to walk, to explore new paths, to seek what the Holy Spirit suggests to us. And this is done with humility, with simplicity, without great propaganda, without great publicity (homily 2.02.21).

Today's world and its cries cannot be faced without a hopeful synergy of each and every one, if we do not "walk together", if we do not make our own the pain of the world, increasingly fragmented. Consecrated life, as seekers of God, knows, with the wisdom of the heart, that God can only be found by walking, because He is the Way. He always goes out on the roads, as companion and Lord, who makes the heart beat like those of Emmaus, and returns them - returns us - to the community, to row together and to feel ourselves in the same boat to land together, to restore hope, to clean wounds, to repair gaps.

As our Pastors of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life state in the presentation of this Day, to walk together "...".is an exercise of necessity and an experience of beauty". The need arises from the Church's demand to strengthen synergies in all areas of mission. The beauty comes from contemplating the witness of those who are called by the same vocation to live in fraternity and to give their lives for the kingdom at the service of their brothers and sisters.

Walking together is an always new, open proposal that invites us to go beyond our flat and individualistic looks, to widen the spaces of our tents and bet on the "we" that brings out the best in each one of us.

All this, if we lose our fears and free ourselves from the inertia of always having done it this way, from the bonds of rigidity and become a body in which, with our participation and vulnerable listening, we sprout wings that lead us to the mission. A body which, with our participation and vulnerable listening, sprouts the wings that take us to the mission. Not to regulated tasks, but to the dream of the new fraternity, to the vineyard of Jesus, where the laborers are called friends of the Lord and not servants. Friends who, together with Him, spread the universal tablecloth of His table, share His bread and wine, with the immoderation of the one who knows that He has loved us first to the extreme, and has invited us to do the same.

The proposal to walk together, from this horizon, becomes a plus of love. It is to allow the salvation that is given to us in a fragile Child to be realized. It is not for nothing that this Day of Consecrated Life is celebrated on the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Those who recognize him are an elderly man, Simeon, and Anna, a widowed, barren woman....

What a contrast for our agendas, planning, feelings that consecrated life has lost social relevance!

How hard it is for us to accept that God reveals himself to the little ones, to those who, as "seekers of God", look and hope in the Word given by the faithful God, who has committed himself to his People! Ours is to walk at his side, practicing tenderness and mercy. To recognize him with a clean gaze.

Simeon and Anna have been able to discover the consolation of Israel May we - the whole of Consecrated Life - today, as we celebrate this feast and renew our vows, not lose the opportunity to manifest and proclaim in prophetic symphony that our God is the God of life!

To bet on the gutters and the peripheries of so many areas of our society. May our yes be a yes of trusting love committed to the cries of the common home and the poor. That only from answers fermented in dialogue, in prayer, in common discernment, "walking together", we will take the necessary steps for another alternative world, where other gestures, actions that put the person at the center, the common good, become possible.

We are called and summoned with others to humbly cooperate as "artisans of communion" with our personal and institutional lives so that the world may believe.

The celebration of the Day of Consecrated Life implies to receive once again, in this important ecclesial moment, as all the People of God, the call to synodality -to walk together-. Not as a fashion but to recover the essential spirit of the Church and of our own congregational structures and as Church, with creativity, to accept God's plan for our concrete today that asks for a new apostolic impulse.

A consecrated life humus of the "new earth and new heavens". A consecrated life impassioned by Jesus Christ and his plan of salvation, which does not cease to question and search, despite its aging or lack of vocations. A consecrated life whose center is the spirit of the Risen Lord that continues to speak and inspire us, as it did our founders and foundresses, to put out into the deep. To make us one of many who "walking together" as sons and brothers, allow themselves to be guided "by the humble and happy certainty of those who have been found, reached and transformed by the Way, Truth and Life, which is Christ, and cannot stop proclaiming".

Happy Consecrated Life Day to all! 

The authorMª José Tuñón, ICA

Director of the E. Commission for Consecrated Life. Spanish Episcopal Conference.

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